After starting our new company, Wilson Media Consulting, I experienced what all home-based business owners experience: struggling with discipline and motivation.
Here are some tips on how to be more productive (no matter where you are).
1. 45/15 Split
My background in psychology and experience as a learner and worker has taught me that people have an optimal range of time of which they can learn, focus and be productive. The typical time range is 40-55 minutes. What this means for you: start paying attention to time when you're working. About how long into a task do you start to "fade" or does your creativity or productivity diminish? For me, it's about 45 minutes.
I like to start my work "on the hour" so I can easily do a 45/15 minute split. I start working at 7:00 am and at 7:45 am, I take a planned break. Knowing that I get to take a break helps me focus because I don't create excuses to not work.
When you let yourself expect a break, you'll be more productive in your 45 minutes than if you just take random breaks, get frustrated, and then stop working altogether for a couple hours.
2. The planned break
Before I start my 45/15 split, I have a plan for how I'm going to spend my 15 minutes break. That way, I don't waste time thinking about what I'm going to do when I should be working, or wasting my break time by trying to decide how I want to spend it. For example, I know that in 20 minutes I'm going to get a snack and play with our adorable cockapoo, Mazie. She likes to sleep in, so I won't wake her for a little while.
3. Timing my tasks
Measure, measure, measure! That's how you know if anything is successful. I measure the time I spend every day by using an automatic time tracker. Gone are the days of writing down what you're doing (especially if you spend 80% of your work day at the computer). I use a cool time tracker that lets me add new tasks and then set the timer on them when I start working on them. At the end of the day (or week, month, etc), with a click of a button I can see where all my time went. It also helps me bill clients because it's organized by client profiles. It's a breeze to use, and I've noticed that on the days I don't use it, my productivity plummets. There's something about seeing that little timer on my screen that shouts to me: GET TO WORK!